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ROH TV recap & reactions (May 25, 2023): Not PPV worthy

Week thirteen in the ROH TV revival (May 25, 2023) was hyped as PPV worthy. That was a bold claim for a 19-match show with a runtime close to 3 hours, especially since none of the matches were built on feuds. Since the show was previously taped, it had me wondering if perhaps ROH knew something shocking was in store with a few instant classics.

Nope. That was not the case. This was the standard style of ROH TV episode with random showcase matches and just enough story to whet the appetite for anticipation of next week’s offering. Anyone that makes the PPV worthy claim with conviction for this episode is delusional. There is no way this TV card stands up to previous ROH PPV lineups in the Tony Khan era.

That’s not to say this show was bad. On the contrary. The action was solid with competitive contests up and down the card. There was extra aggression in the air all night long. I wouldn’t bat an eye at the suggestion that a handful of these ROH bouts could belong, in terms of quality, on the undercard of Dynamite in AEW. When this show is being hyped as PPV worthy, it unnecessarily creates high expectations which were not met.

ROH TV quick results:

Mark Briscoe defeated JD Drake. Anthony Henry was ringside. Briscoe survived a moonsault to rally for the froggy bow to win. Briscoe is still focused on winning the ROH TV title from Samoa Joe.

Claudio Castagnoli defeated Serpentico. Proving Ground match for the ROH World Championship. The masked man gave Claudio trouble early with speedy offense. Claudio increased his aggression to dominate with 13 consecutive short-arm clotheslines for victory.

Kiera Hogan defeated Vertvixen. Athena was on stage watching the competitive bout. Hogan fought back to land a high kick and finished with a Saito suplex for victory. Afterward, trash-talking escalated. Athena pie-faced Hogan.

Kyle Fletcher defeated AR Fox. Mark Davis was ringside. This bout was taped prior to Aussie Open vacating the NJPW Strong and IWGP tag titles. Fletcher kicked out of a 450 splash, then he turned the tide for an avalanche Michinoku driver. Fox kicked out on the cover. Fletcher kept on the pressure to win via hammerlock piledriver.

Willow Nightingale defeated Hyan. The new NJPW Strong women’s champion handled business to win via doctor bomb. Enjoy Caprice Coleman rapping to Willow’s entrance.

Matt Taven & Mike Bennett defeated Willie Mack & Ninja Mack. Maria Kanellis was ringside. The Kingdom weathered the storm and worked double-teams to win on the Proton Pack stunner finisher. Later backstage, the Mack Attack said they will be back to climb the ROH tag team division.

Mercedes Martinez defeated Dream Girl Ellie. Martinez mauled her opponent to finish with the surfboard dragon sleeper submission.

Ashley D’Amboise defeated Danielle Kamela. Kamela was aggressive. D’Amboise rallied with a torture rack slam and a uranage for victory.

Rocky Romero defeated Titus Alexander. Azucar executed a sweet flipping armbar.

Vincent, Dutch, & Stu Grayson defeated LSG, Vary Morales, & Marcus Kross. This was the Righteous’ one chance to impress Stu. They worked well as a unit and handed the win to Grayson for a torture rack backbreaker on Kross. The Dark Order watched on stage confused at Grayson’s new allies. Grayson passed the the Dark Order and left with the Righteous. That didn’t mean he officially joined Vincent and Dutch, but seeds are planted for dissension.

Shane Taylor defeated Tracy Williams. The Workhorsemen and Rhett Titus were ringside. Williams was rocking, but he couldn’t lift Taylor for a piledriver. Taylor countered with a back body drop and took control from there to finish with a package piledriver.

Athena defeated Promise Braxton. Proving Ground match for the ROH Women’s World Championship. Braxton scored her fair share of offense. Athena outsmarted her opponent then erupted with strikes to set up a cobra clutch choke to win. Afterward, Athena tried to assault Braxton some more. Hogan ran in for the save to smash Athena’s face into the title belt. Later backstage, Athena threw a fit and offered a title shot to Hogan next week. (Full details here.)

Dralistico defeated Tony Deppen. Jose The Assistant was ringside. High-octane action with an edge. Dralistico connected on a springboard rana to Deppen straddled on the ropes. The luchador followed up with La Mistica armbar.

Nick Comoroto doesn’t simp for wimps.

Skye Blue defeated Miranda Alize. The Lucha Baddie trapped Blue in a crossface. Blue rolled it over for a pin to escape. Alize charged into the corner, Blue dodged, then Blue bridged a roll-up to win.

Darius Martin & Action Andretti defeated Cole Karter & Zack Clayton. The high-flyers rallied to win on a teamwork pendulum slam to Karter.

Blake Christian defeated Nick Comoroto. Agility versus power. Christian played cat and mouse with the lumbering Comoroto. Once the powerhouse got hands on Christian, the roughhousing began. Christian used a sneaky trick to win. He grabbed a chair to slide into the ring as a distraction for a roll-up. That was a chickenshit way to win for a babyface. Comoroto deserves a rematch.

Diamante defeated Trish Adora. Adora planted Diamante on a fisherman’s cradle driver. Adora wound up for the Lariat Tubman. Diamante ducked and countered with a swinging maneuver to drive Adora’s head into the mat. Diamante earned the rugged win with an arm triangle choke.

Alex Coughlin gets his Pure title shot against Katsuyori Shibata next week on ROH TV. The teacher better not underestimate the student, or else there will be a new champion.

Pentagon defeated Slim J. Alex Abrahantes, Ari Daivari, Sonny Kiss, and Jeeves Kay were ringside. The Trustbusters cheated with physical interference, but it wasn’t enough to stop Pentagon from winning with a package piledriver.

Samoa Joe & Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal. If CD or Sydal won, then they would receive a TV title shot at the loser’s respective belt (ROH or NJPW). Joe and Sabre worked together well enough, but they also had a passive-aggressive attitude toward one another. The match broke down in the end, and Joe choked out Daniels. Joe and Sabre shared a respectful handshake as TV champions of ROH and NJPW. (Full details here.)

The top watch list for this episode of ROH TV is Samoa Joe & Zack Sabre Jr. versus Christopher Daniels & Matt Sydal, Dralistico versus Tony Deppen, and Kyle Fletcher versus AR Fox. The main event tag bout had some thrills and amusing interactions between Joe and Sabre. Assuming ROH delivers on a clash of TV champions, this match is a good one to watch to get the base vibe of the rivalry. Dralistico and Deppen was on the wild side with intensity. Dralistico is coming into his own as a rugged Ingobernable compared to a softer finesse when wrestling in CMLL. Fletcher and Fox should fulfill the cool moves quota.

Promise Braxton was the rising standout of the show. She displayed a variety of offense and forced Athena to work for the win. It was the type of performance that left me wanting more.

Closing thought. I appreciate how Claudio Castagnoli utilizes a multitude of ways to win in his Proving Ground matches. These opponents are clearly not on his level, so he often doesn’t have to use his signature finishers to win. For example, he pummeled Serpentico into oblivion with clotheslines. That’s not something that would work on a top-notch challenger. That detail adds a touch of realism to the ROH fight game. It also prevents the mismatches from getting stale.

Share your thoughts on the latest ROH TV episode. Who were the standout performers?

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